As Mitchell Baker just blogged, and as a press release from Mozilla will announce shortly, I have taken on an exciting new role within the Mozilla world, leading a new organization focused on email and internet communications. Wow indeed.
I’m thrilled to take on a significant role within the Mozilla world. As my colleagues, friends and family know, I’ve been a fan of Mozilla for a long time. That hasn’t changed as I’ve learned more about its purpose, seen the wild improbable success of its transparent, altruistic, radical and inclusive approach, and met the people behind the lizard.
So, what exactly is the job? It’s simply this: Mozilla has decided that the best way to make email and internet communications better is to create a new organization with that (admittedly broad) space as its focus, starting with Thunderbird as the starting product and some seed funding. And they’ve asked me to lead that organization. As our son said when he heard the news “Isn’t it an honor to be asked by Mozilla to do this?” Indeed it is. I’m exceedingly flattered.
This new organization (unnamed as of yet, code-named MailCo) will be a sister company to Mozilla Corporation, and a subsidiary of the Mozilla Foundation as well. While it will legally be a for-profit company, its purpose will be to serve the public benefit. This means that while part of my job is to figure out a long-term sustainability plan for the company, it’s more important for me to make email better than to generate significant profits. If profits happen, that’s fine, but generating profits at the expense of the public benefit is not. It will be fascinating to figure out what that means in practice.
My first steps will be to learn about the current state of affairs, starting with Thunderbird: what are the current processes, what’s most urgently needed, who would be good members of the core team, etc. In parallel, I’ll be talking to whoever is interested about what kinds of directions MailCo could or should go in. I’m expecting to get a lot of email in the next few weeks. If you have ideas you want to send my way, feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org). I have all kinds of ideas as to what we can do, but I’ll need a lot of feedback to help sort out the wheat from the chaff. Knowing the Mozilla community, I don’t think I’ll have a hard time getting that feedback!
In a separate post, I say a few words about ActiveState and the exciting stuff happening there.
[Update: in response to all the questions: I'll be staying based in Vancouver.]